||This article (online at www.articolo29.it/genius) gives a compact overview of developments in national and European law regarding same-sex partners. Over the last decades, new legal family formats (such as registered partnership and de facto union) have been made available in a growing number of countries. The number of countries that have opened up marriage to same-sex couples is also growing. Authors of comparative family law have proposed various classifications of the new legal family formats. Meanwhile, an increasing number of EU laws now acknowledge non-marital partners. The European Courts have been asked several times to rule on controversial differentiations between different legal family formats or between same-sex and different-sex partners. In the case law of the European Court of Human Rights one can find examples of affirmative eloquence which suggest that more steps towards full legal recognition of same-sex families could be expected.
This article also appeared in the book: M. van den Brink et al. (eds.), Equality and human rights: nothing but trouble? – Liber amicorum Titia Loenen, Utrecht, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights 2015 (SIM Special 38, p. 223-245 & 414). An earlier version of this text appeared as chapter 4 of the report: O. Thevenon & G. Neyer (eds), Family Policies and Diversity in Europe: The state-of-the-art regarding fertility, work, care, leave, laws and self-sufficiency, Stockholm: Stockholm University 2014 (FamiliesAndSocieties Working Paper Series, nr. 7, p 42-55), and in C. Casonato & A. Schuster (eds.), Rights On The Move – Rainbow Families in Europe (Proceedings of the Conference, Trento, 16-17 October 2014), Trento: University of Trento 2014, p. 121-134.